December 6, 2022

Can’t let eco fugitives off hook on repay offer: Govt | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In what seemed a pointed rejoinder to the Supreme Court‘s day-old suggestion to agree not to prosecute the fugitives who were ready to return and repay the amount they owed to banks, the Centre has informed the apex court that cases against absconding economic offenders wanted for massive defrauding could not be dropped on the basis of mere offers of settlement.
On Tuesday, a bench of Justices Sanjay K Kaul and MM Sundresh had suggested to the Centre to consider allowing fugitives to come back to India and staying criminal proceedings against them if they are agreeable to pay up their defaulted amounts to banks. This suggestion came from the bench during the hearing of a plea by Hemant S Hathi, who is wanted along with promoters Sandsaras in the Sterling Biotech case involving alleged swindling of Rs 14,500 crore from banks. Hathi had agreed to pay back around Rs 900 crore due from him in lieu of a clean chit.
The SC had told the Centre, “You are chasing many people around the world but you have not been able to get anything. Here he (Hathi) is offering to refund the money. So some criminal proceedings can be stayed and allow them to come back.”
The investigating agency said, “Criminal law, as a matter of enforcement by state agencies, is a matter of public law. Every crime is prosecuted for and on behalf of the public at large. Public banks are custodians of public money and any criminal activity associated therewith cannot be extinguished by a mere post facto offer to repay the amount in question.”
The CBI said, “The SC has held that in respect of serious offences under special statutes, like Prevention of Corruption Act, the settlement between the offender and the victim can have no legal sanction at all.”

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